Protecting our kids on the Internet and dancing naked in the snow

Everyone moans when it’s snowing, but it leads to a lot of laughing.  I once bet someone to dance naked in the snow – and he did!!  So it was no surprise that the snowflakes dominated Facebook statuses this weekend.  I hadn’t planned to play outside but one of my social media clients is running a build-a-snowman competition – just for fun!  – hence I made my own snowy little person.  If I win I’m hoping the prize will be chocolates, but someone’s posted a pic today of a snow lady in a bikini beside a snowman on a sunbed holding a bottle of beer, so I’m not hopeful…

In case you’re wondering, the dancing-in-the-snow person was not Naked Scrabble Buddy – I’m sure he kept wrapped up nice and warm – well, as wrapped up as a naked person can be. 

I try to keep this blog light-hearted and social media-friendly, but now for a serious story that will make you go even colder than you probably are today.  We’ve all read about the downside of Facebook – paedophiles grooming kids, people not being who you think they are, illicit meetings, but those things happen to other people, right?  So I’m utterly shocked to report a tale from my hometown.  The young lad who volunteered as an instructor at my sons’ sailing club before going off to university to undertake his degree and teacher training, has been arrested and charged with grooming boys, sexual assault and storing indecent images of children.  We just can’t believe it. 

Telling this story to friends last night prompted yet another shocking story, this time of a 13-year-old girl being ‘friended’ by a 40-year-old-man – until her uncle interceded and gave him some strong advice to leave her alone.  He subsequently disappeared from Facebook, obviously scared off, but the young girl was left bewildered that her ‘friend’ had vanished. 

We obviously use social media for different purposes, and whether it’s business, marketing, socialising, playing games, dating, keeping up with current events or simply wasting time… if you do notice a young person involved in a conversation that looks like it might be inappropriate, speak out.  Let’s keep our kids safe!

Phil Spector (another weirdo) released his Christmas album on the day JFK was assassinated.  I play it every year (usually only up until twelfth night), but it’s still lovely in this weather.  ‘The world is your snowball, see how it grows, that’s how it goes, whenever it snows.  The world is your snowball just for a song, get out and roll it along…’

Social media is our all year round way of rolling info along and, just like a snowball, news and info grows as it gets passed along, retweeted, commented on, shared and liked. Throw some snowballs and see if you can catch me – here I am: @WeekendWitch.

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